411. It’s over… right?

 

The oligarchic Olympiad of the most un-presidential presidential election ever conducted on this planet is now over, isn’t it?  Please, God. Make it stop!  Two years and at least five billion dollars have produced…. what?  The Despicable with fewer votes loses. The Despicable with the larger number of votes gets to pull taffy with congress and the media for a while, until a hearing, special prosecutor, impeachment, or some other pair of concrete boots get shackled in place. But no, that does not even add up. The Despicable with the most popular votes lost, thanks to the electoral college system.  It’s hard to say which ruthless political hyena is the bigger loser. Oh yeah, but the biggest loser is our country, unfiltered and driven by idish fears where neither issues nor facts mattered in the end. Only the twin towers of fear and hate stood. Just take the gloves off and get violent. Take the mufflers off and get hostile. Turn the conscience off and spit all over the Other. Let there be no talk of reconciliation. No. No matter who won, it is a matter of Reload not Respect or Rapprochement. Fact deniers become verdict deniers and then history deniers. If you start with a pair of liars, you end with a frothing ocean of lies, breaking on our shores in wave after sickening wave of verbal garbage.

“But he lies more.”

“But her lies are worser.”

“No, he’s the worserest.”

“I know what you are, but what am I?”

And the wounded nation groans for the next generation.

I don’t ever recall the pure hatred of the other side as opposed to the firm declaration of difference in directions being outlined. My first election pitted Jimmy Carter against the un-elected, suddenly promoted in scandal, Gerald Ford. Good trivia question there:  which U.S. president was never elected president?  Oh, political science majors are drooling while googling. John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Millard Fillmore, and Chester Arthur are the others who moved from vice to full president after calamity. Death opened the door for these guys, whereas Watergate opened the door for poor old clumsy Gerry Ford, who was not even elected Vice President, to stumble through. Spiro Agnew was elected twice. Remember him? However, these stories pale by comparison to the political pornography we have been subjected to for the past two years. Death would have been more noble for the office of the President than drowning in this moral sinkhole of 2016.

The media have functioned as porn film makers. They are just giving the people what they want, so they say, while raking in record ratings and earnings. Pollsters, pundits, professional blatherers have all gotten on the porn wagon. It is its own parasitic industry, ticks feeding on the blood of a bleeding nation. Fear and hate keep audiences glued to their favorite news outlets, drinking their favorite flavor of hallucinogenic Kool Aid. The political porn stars, Don and Hill, are hideous caricatures of character, so flawed on so many levels.

And we are the insatiable audience for this reality television, twitter feed, Facebook war on civility. Peephole creepers. Is it over yet?  No. The new stink is just beginning.  That skunk odor will help sell air fresheners and cigars, and trips to mythical places that have never existed. The campaign culture bar was lowered below ground level so that future political limbo dancers will have to knee walk through Hell, heads bent backwards, sucking the dirt from the soles of the same old special interests, shamelessly squirming to dodge custom made land mines. Hey, it’s what ya gotta do.

“The name of the new boss is the same as the old boss.”  Oh, that won’t do. Let’s go full credit to the Who…

THE WHO     “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the songI’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
No, no!

I’ll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Sure, it will be different. Sure. The triumph of fear and hate sandblasted the electorate’s moral compasses, leaving nuclear ghosts where soulful people used to reside. Ever seen a nuclear ghost?  They are the shadows of folks whose bodies were annihilated by atomic bombs in Japan.
Onward, patriots. It had to be done, this scorched earth political assault. Once we stopped seeing the Others as  human beings and demonized them, the bombs had to drop, right?
But it’s over now, right? Wrong.
Revisit Dover Beach sometime, it ends this way…
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

 

391. Baltimore Down

Had to be twenty years ago because we drove to Baltimore in the old red and white Ram van without air conditioning to an Orioles game during the summer. My wife and three young kids looking for a parking space while the clock ticked on a Friday evening. Seven o’clock and the lots near the stadium were full. I started to pull into a parking deck, but the clearance limit dissuaded me from trying to peel the skylight off the roof. So, we drove on with the crowd toward parking that was farther and farther from the stadium. We passed parked cars with smashed out windows that had obviously been robbed. Maybe I should have pulled into that parking deck. The herd turned right ahead near some warehouses within sight of Camden Yards. 7:15. First pitch is 7:35.  No attendant or gate, just an open lot that quickly filled with baseball fans’ vehicles. I’m certain that my wife said something about the safety of parking there.  Out of an ocean of ignorance I reassured her. “They can’t tow us all away.”

We followed the crowd into the stadium and had a fun time cheering and doing the Macarena to loud music. I don’t know if the O’s won. What mattered is that we had an all American experience on a lovely summer night in Baltimore. Around 11:00 p.m. we retraced our steps back to that mystery lot only to find the first toenail of our nightmare torn off and bleeding. A tow truck was hooked up to the last car on the lot while the car owner screamed at the driver and tried to convince him to release his car. Meanwhile a Baltimore policeman stood by explaining that this was a private lot and a little sign behind a sumac tree said so. It seemed clear immediately and thoroughly that the cop was part of the scam, pretending to be authoritative. He explained that we were trespassing. “Okay, but where is my van?”

“Likely on the impoundment lot  in Linthicum. They open back up on Monday morning.”

“Now, no, wait. You can’t do that.”

“Sir, it’s done. You should not have parked here. This tow truck was called by the lot owner. He’s just doing his job.”

I didn’t think I’d get anywhere with the cop or the tow truck driver. I turned to face the firing squad of my family, “What are we going to do now?” they all asked at once. The cheers and Macarena were gone, forgotten. The fun, the peace, the simple pleasure… all towed away to an impoundment lot in hell.

“Ah, let me ask this other rent a cop.” I approached the crossing guard cop at the intersection as we wandered back toward the lit up stadium. “Excuse me. Our van was towed away and we were told it’s outside the city in an impoundment lot.”

“Ah, no. We don’t take’m there. They tow’m over to the other side of the Inner Harbor and drop’m off on side streets over there.”

“In the neighborhood behind the Science Center?”

“Yeah, down Charles Street where it ends. Your car is down there.”

I  turned back to my wide eyed family. “What are we gonna do?”

“Let’s walk over to the Sheraton and see if we can wait there; and if I can’t find the van tonight, we’ll just get a room.” Minor sighs of relief came to know we had a plan and possible destination in the dark sultry air. The desk staff at the Sheraton could not have been nicer; however, there were no rooms at the Inn that night. “There’s a huge softball tournament in town this weekend. Every hotel room is full.”

Unbelievable. We explained our predicament and the nice lady at the desk told us we could stretch out on the couches in their lobby for a while until we reached resolution. I decided to jog over to Federal Hill, a two mile jog from the  Sheraton, but I  was in good shape back then at age 40.  Not fast but steady. Off I jogged, telling myself I’d find my van and drive it back victoriously to the Sheraton, and boy oh boy, wouldn’t the kids be excited to see that. It got eerily quiet as I jogged across and away from the waterfront and into a shabby, unfamiliar neighborhood. No one was on the street or sidewalks. Up ahead a bunch of young men were playing basketball under bright lights at a school yard. I didn’t see my  van, which would have stuck out like a chicken in a guinea pig farm. I looked and pondered the darkness and my empty options, and kept on jogging as if I knew where I was going.

Sadly I gave up the search and jogged back to the hotel lobby. The kids were drowsily curled up together alongside my wife. I felt defeated but I was not going to show defeat. “What are we going to do now?” my wife inquired.

“I’m going to get a cab and drive around some more. Maybe a local cabbie will have some ideas.” Surprisingly my wife accepted this stupid idea of mine as having a chance, a better chance than me jogging all night.

No sooner had the desk clerk put the phone down after calling a cab than one showed up at the  front door. It was too fast. But the grizzled driver assured me he’d been just around the corner when the call came. I could not believe him and the laws of science at the same time. I got in and explained my situation.

“I know where  your van is, man.”

“That’s impossible. The cops told me it’s on Federal Hill or in Linthicum till Monday, and you’re telling me you know exactly where it is.”

“Yep. you can waste your money looking around Charles Street, but it’s not there. These slimy bastards tow them across to a lot under the 295 bridge along Gwynn Falls. It’s a racket. The cops are in on it.”

“Let’s go to Federal Hill first, okay?”

“Sure. It’s your money, man.”

As he started the meter my eye followed his hand down to the bench seat where I saw a .45 loaded and unholstered. “What’s with the gun?”

“It’s Baltimore. Gotta show folks you’re serious. I’m moving to Denver next week. I’ve had enough of this place.  Wouldn’t mind shooting a few locals before I go.”

‘Oh great,’ I thought. I have a psychopath Taxi driver zooming me around Baltimore with a death wish. Steven Seagall and Robert Deniro floated across my memory banks. ‘Someone is gonna die tonight.’ I realized I was more afraid of my taxi driver than I was of the local hoodlums.

But Marty was correct. No van, nowhere. “You ready to find your van now?”

I reluctantly agreed and he sped off across the 95/295 elevated highways. I had no idea where we were going, but I knew it was not a good place. He drove around a deserted industrial area and I began to wonder if he might want to shoot me just for kicks and dump my body down by the creek. Heck, he was going to Denver next week and there was no way to  track me.

368. Porn Eyes

A provocative title, yes. Sadly it’s a common reality for many men of all races and demographics that they are porn addicts. Can’t live through a day without a mind numbing hit of deadly eye candy. Like any narcotic or other compulsive behavior, the pleasure thrill leaves early on in the unholy hajj toward the heights of heavenly bliss. The addict’s creeping eyesight is corrupted by a toxic mind that constantly hungers for another shot of porn. In psychic sand storms, beautiful naked images are mindlessly devoured like so many potato chips, peanuts, or any other junk food binge vehicle. The thrill is gone, man, so taboo themes creep in to super charge plain old sex, similar to how one spices up plain chips and dip as the taste buds retreat. You know, you can’t taste salt after your taste buds are over salinated. This is not news. It goes back beyond Sodom and Gomorrah, cuz those dudes were already good at perversion by then. That was not their first rodeo.

“You are the salt of the earth”, said Jesus. “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Overconsumption does not lead anyone to appreciation. Rather it creates the gross state of numb boredom and waste.

It’s a shame, a Great Dismal Swamp of Shame, that men who have gorgeous, sexy wives will self gratify and slowly alienate their legitimate, available, and willing love partners. Instead of growing a garden of intimate bliss and planting vines of deep sensuality, these dead-eyed men strip down vibrant sexual subjectivity into its inanimate objective parts. Their fantasized playmates have no names or personality; they only have parts… like car parts– cams, pistons, fenders, carburetors– that do not connect into one, God-made love partner. They become cyborg robots in emotional junkyards, replacing parts. All day long they replace parts. Or act like reductionist chemists who reduce a tomato into 32 lifeless components.

See, it’s easier, so much easier to exchange parts than to engage the breathing, thinking, feeling whole person in an atmosphere of patient love. Such fullness requires more work than any poker game; whereas porn is simply a broken down man hypnotically slamming a broken down slot machine expecting something different, as he pulls the handle and watches the images spin. Uh oh, you lose again… because you cannot win this or any other addiction game. Every time you use, the goal posts move farther away as your spirit deflates further.

I remember a gang of boys in high school who stole cars; parked them in nearby woods; and then stripped the wheels, tires, stereo systems and any easily removed accessory from the raped automotive carcass. Eventually they were caught and prosecuted. Turns out one of the cars they had stolen belonged to a government employee whose national security-linked computer was locked in the trunk. The Big Boys of law enforcement helped local cops bust the gang of thieves. Just like porn addicts, these gangsters did not know how valuable the whole was. They just saw replaceable parts and greedily pulled them off stolen cars like hyenas rip apart a fallen zebra.

Are you sad yet? This plague is tragic because it does not have to be. Are there more porn addicts or alcoholics? Porn by a long shot. Google Porn Addiction Statistics  and then Alcoholics Statistics and prepare to be blown away by hurricanes of disgust. God made human sexuality in all its glorious complexity; simply disgraceful men made pornography, which is the corruption of beauty and love. The root word of pornography is Greek, porne, which meant prostitute. Graphy still means writing, but nowadays it means documenting with video. Likewise, Porn still conjures up the viral spirit of prostitution.

Porn is easy to find but hard to lose. Graphic carnal knowledge and ecstatic imagery is a mouse click away today, my friends. In my youth it was magazines in the woods that had been smuggled out of some kid’s father’s stash. You had to work hard to see the forbidden fruit in those patinated days. Expropriated magazines radiated more than plutonium in trash bags hidden in a hole covered by leaves. If a porno Geiger counter were available, one could find the stash by listening to the beep-beep-beep rising in pitch and frequency. The magnetic display needle would slam against the highest setting as the sex detective scanned the woods where young boys played with plastic guns and sticks and Playboys. Invisible energy leeched out, seeped out, wafted out of the trash bag container poisoning young male minds. Rotting carnality just an arm’s length away, the shiny nude photographs eroded innocence as surely as cancer erodes whatever it touches. Objects outside of any relationship, culture, or code jump out at the viewer– an oyster nailed to a tree; an owl flying through a hospital ward; a baby in prison. Impossible to unlook or forget these images once tattooed on a revolted conscience.

We knew some dads even had 16mm porn movies, but that was way too complicated to attempt rigging up.  We knew about the drive-in on Palmer Highway. Triple X movies were all they showed. I blogged about that adolescent, rooftop experience in an earlier post. The triple X porn movie on the drive-in screen was not memorable, however. The wild police chase and narrow escape with my buddies was etched into my grey memory matter. I smile and savor old memories like that one. On the other hand, the porn addict is haunted by his old violations and perversities, unshared and utterly alone. And that is another aspect of porn use that is not immediately understood– it isolates the addict from real intimacy and isolates him from himself. Instead of connecting to others deeply, the addict uses airbrushed images of perfect others to remain perfectly disconnected. The shame cycle is simply ramped up by repeated failure to escape the addiction. Self disgust mounts and more porn is used to escape the negative emotions caused by the addiction to begin with. Pornography strip mines the soul’s majestic mountains.

And just in case you think that church doors filter out streaming porn from genuflecting male minds, the stats are just as bleak for Christian men. Viruses don’t care if you go to church, and Porn is a billion dollar virus industry.

 

322. The Battleship and the Daisy

[Once, a half dialogue dribbled down like this, like a watercolor monologue or a torpedo’s jet stream.]

“It’s like this”, she said. “You are a battle ship, armored and loaded for warfare. No soft spot on your hull. A floating uncrackable Brazil nut. You can muster your energies for sure destruction, mutually assured destruction, to be sure. Your relational invincibility makes you vulnerable, though. Because I can’t get to your steel-plated heart to change your course. 007 couldn’t complete this mission. So, ‘Boom’, our world ends. Dr. No wins.”

“On the other hand, I am a daisy whose soft petals sometimes fall. I am fragile sometimes and need to be held gently. You know, as a girl I counted ‘he loves me; he loves me not’, always frightened of ending on ‘not’. I can’t end on ‘not’. I refuse to grant you ‘not’ status. We are rooted in each other.”

“Still, you just go ‘Boom’ when things don’t go your way. You attack before you are attacked. No warning, maybe one demand for ransomed love, usually not. Only shattered windows and smoke follow your shoreline shellings. I know every hero needs a good villain, but that’s the movies, Mr. Bond. Listen to me:  this is real life!”

“I, huh, I need your protection and comfort, not your aggression, criticism, and condemnation. Circle that battleship around and protect me, please. Open a door, a port hole to your soft soul. I am not your Savior but I know Him. He loves you too, not your armor. Don’t you know that by now? Doesn’t that lonely ache scream out, ‘Abba’?”

“How? I just don’t know how we are going to make it work. All these years we have adjusted course and reformed a bit, amended, edited, throttled back. But we have not transformed to where we have any chance to succeed.”

“And survival is all we have to show for the years together, like some teetering rock in Utah that has survived centuries of erosion. Desperate Desert Dalis, we balance so precariously on toothpicks. A word, a look, a small failure and the whole thing collapses. Erosion will win if we don’t. Ours is a surreal relationship that won’t pass scrupulous scrutiny. Just look. Things are not what they appear to be.”

“If we don’t die first or find a way that is bigger than both of us–The Way of mutual surrender– then we’re just dead dust. I don’t trust you or myself to find that way through without surrendering to God. We suck by our odd, selfish, impatient, shellfish, greedy, lazy, miserable selves. Dessicated crustaceans in an Asian food market.”

“And that’s just what we are– not special or noble or exceptional. That’s all so much false advertising on t.v. Left to our own vices and devices we deserve nothing but trouble on our own. We are bloated ticks on an old sick hound dog. We need God, who is good and seeks us. Who knows why? The answer is not on our side of the equation, where we stack all our good works and all our failures on one side of a scale and God’s grace on the other. His grace will always weigh more, way way more. Our deeds are hollow as pigeon bones.”

“I can’t explain it. I take it on faith. That’s all. We are always a toothpick away from destruction.”

“Which is why we need to stay on our knees, face to the ground. We cannot fall from this humble mound. It’s when we are tall and haughty that we trip over pebbly sin.”

“Are you listening? How can a daisy pry open a battle ship?  Dear God! There must be a vent, some opening you breathe through. And I will pour my petals into that vent until your pistons pause, your gears gum up, and your engines stutter. I will smear my pollen all over your radar screen and uncorrupt your warped messages with powdery triple negatives. I’ll wrap my supple green leaves around your evil sensing antenna. Send an army of devoted honey bees into your cruel captain’s cabin. I’ll float my fragrant allergens into your nostrils, causing fits of blind sneezes. In any way I can, I will disarm you, my pirate love. We are not at war.”

So Isaiah wrote, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

This cold war operation has run out of time and fuel.”

“Can we live in peace and gently garden? ”

“We will plant hectare upon hectare of pure daisies, my love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

317. Don’t Call Me Cupcake!!

Joel and I walked into the coffee shop together. Barristas Becky and Cali noted that we were both wearing shirts that were pink or coral. We did a two step for their entertainment and a little shuffle. I suggested that the girls wait on him first since at his advanced age he does not have long to live. They complied.

Then Becky wanted to take our picture, not sure why. Posterity? Security?  We declined. Then she offered us free cherry cupcakes if we would model them, since they were pink and matched and it was very girly.

Image result for girls taking pictures with smartphones

We posed happily yet wearily. Not really. I just wanted to type that. “They were weary of the world, these two world weary soldiers from World War II.” We sat down at Table 1, seats A and B.

“Are you going to put this in the blog?” Joel asked as he chomped into a chicken salad wrap.

“Maybe, if it gets legs and walks farther into my deep twisted cortical brain center and passes through the ulterior medulla matrix.”

Looking a bit edgy over his round lenses, “Don’t go all psycho babble on me, please!”

“Easy, laddie Buck.  Did a hornet fly up your butt this morning? You are not your usual jovial soap bubble self. Where is my Bubbles?”

“You know most people just write about what happened in their rather dull days. It’s not challenging or disturbing, but you have to twist everything into knots… No wonder that guy on Facebook was so upset with you.”

“Don’t start, Joel. He was a Trump supporter, which is sort of like being a proud jock strap.”

“Yes, that’s true. I just don’t feel like being agreeable today. I’ve been living in a motel room for the past four weeks while contractors gut my house.”

“I thought you were gutless and therefore unguttable. That’s impressive. Which motel?”

“You can’t put that on the internet. I could be robbed or bothered in some way by the nitwits who read your blog drivel. Then I’d have to sue you for exclamation of character.”

“I wouldn’t use your actual room number.”

“No!! Out of the question.”

“Now Joel, just because your pantyhose are in a wad does not mean that you can insult the vast millions of good people who read my blog devotedly. What did you do to get so cranky?”

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“I see. Do you want me to guess out loud? Three, two, one. Okay, Uh hum: DID YOU GET BEATEN UP AT THE DRAG QUEEN CLUB AGAIN?”

“Shhhhh, stop it! For goodness sakes!! I have a reputation to uphold. If you must know, I hit myself while pulling up a stake in my yard this morning.”

“You hit yourself with a stake or were you trying to drive a stake through your heart to kill the zombie Dracula who sometimes rises in your chest when the moon is full?”

“No. It was a metal stake for surveying purposes. And it hurt.”

“That’s a lot of self loathing.”

“It was an accident, a clumsy and unfortunate mistake.”

“So now you want to turn your disfiguring physical pain onto the helpless and shiftless who are littered around the urban landscape here?”

“You are referring obliquely to yourself?”

“Yes, Jedi Knight.”

“Well, it does soothe me a bit and it’s too early to drink liquor.”

“Hmmm, liquor has the same impact as expressed anger. Do you think alcoholics are merely folks stuck in anger mismanagement then?”

“Possibly.”

“I find chess to be a nice way to sublimate my antisocial tendencies. I go to war with 16 plastic pieces on 64 squares and no one gets hurt. Except sometimes I get carried away with a checkmate and hit myself in the face with the very stake upon which I wish to impale my opponent’s king.”

“Well, that’s all very good for you, but I don’t play chess. It’s too cerebral. I could hemorrhage.”

“I know. You like a good glass of brandy, gooey cheese, the cat on your lap, and your sousaphone on your shoulder farting out “When The Saints Come Marching In”.

“Yes, at the end of a long, productive day I find comfort in that setting.”

“Studly Do Right.”

“Are you mocking me?”

” No, I have been mocking you for ten minutes now. Mock, yeah, Bird, Yeah. Mockingbird, hey everybody have your heard…”

“Andrea, I need your assistance. This undesirable lunatic is mocking me.”

Andrea, “Joel, he’s your friend.”

“No he isn’t. He’s a coffee shop stalker. A blog terrorist.”

Andrea, “You came in with him and I understood you took a cute cupcake picture with him. Becky told me.”

“Oh dear, please don’t post that on the internet. I have a reputa….”

“Shun to uphold, we know, we know. Just one thing, Joel.”

“What?!!”

“Don’t yell at me, cupcake.”

“Don’t call me cupcake!!”

“Look, I think all this living out of a motel is killing you, man. You need to get off the road or you’re gonna wind up like Willie Nelson– stoned, cold broke and hotly in debt to the IRS.”

“What I need is for you to leave. Don’t you have anything to do today?”

“Community service hours, Buddy. I got that TUI last month, remember?”

“Oh Lord, forgive me. What is a TUI?”

“Texting under the influence, of course. I was walking and texting when I ran into a blind man walking his dog. We tumbled. His dog’s leash got wrapped around a baby stroller somehow and away they ran, the dog, the baby in the stroller, and the pregnant mother. It was not a pretty sight.”

“And the blind guy?”

“He didn’t see a thing.”

“Andrea, for God’s sake, do something!! I beg you.”

“I’m sorry, Joel. He is in the top five of our customer rankings.”

“Well, I can get my monkey bread delivered on Fridays.”

“Joel, you’ve got to stop beating yourself up.”

“Aaaahhh” Joel exits trying to unhear the recent world weary words he just heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

179. Sunday evening gray bear

Something about Sunday evenings in the fall after the clocks have been reset… a moody grayness rises from the ground like a ghost bear that does not have enough fat stored to make it through winter; he can’t sleep yet, so he roams and rummages through trash cans and refrigerators left on unguarded porches. It’s been dark for an hour, but it’s only 5:30 p.m. My mammalian brain wants to hibernate in a modern manner– sit in my recliner and watch football games into the late hours with a bowl of chips and a drink. I’m not very interested in this moment. It’s just background noise with an occasional break out play that’s worth a second look. “How did he catch that pass with one hand while falling backwards?!!” Beer and car commercials interrupt the droning stadium rumblings, both have beautiful female models designed to snap men out of their numb slumbering. It’s not working. “Keep your beer and cars, you gorgeous temptresses!” I’m a modern gray couch bear. Not dangerous really, just present like a boring unsalted metaphorical slug at the end of its slime trail.

My theme song floats up into consciousness. It’s “California Dreaming”…

“All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day
I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.”

That dude wants to leave winter in New York City and his boring girlfriend, I believe. He’s fighting off hibernation and consternation. I’ve felt that way, wanting to be in the warmth while stuck in the cruel cold of a relationship or weather pattern. He’s stuck between folly and melancholy. Now I know there is no such place or construction, Blogaritas. I just like how it sounds, okay? {Don’t make me get off this couch and open a can of whipped cream and fire hose you. You know I’ll do it.}

Oh no, here comes Tom Petty. I’ll handle him. “Hey, Tom.”

“You don’t know how it feels to be me.
Let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint
And let’s head on down the road
There’s somewhere I gotta go
And you don’t know how it feeeeeels to be meeeeeeeee.”

Tom doesn’t have the answer to Sunday night ennui either. He has the same question. What’s the point here? He just asks it musically with a jaded Florida boy attitude.

“Well, Tom, I don’t know how it feels to be you, probably like my jaw jacked up on novocaine feels. I think you ought to head on down that symbolic rock-n-roll road of life. You have a dream to run down, and, Tom, you’ll need a lot of joints to get there, Bro. Just remember, the waiting is the hardest part.”

“Thanks man. That’s cool.”

Now here comes Bob Dylan, and you know he has to put in his two cents.

“I can’t understand
She let go of my hand
An’ left me here facing the wall
I’d sure like to know
Why she did go
But I can’t get close to her at all
Though we kissed through the wild blazing nighttime
She said she would never forget
But now mornin’s clear
It’s like I ain’t here
She just acts like we never have met.”

“Thanks for that, Bob. You are not old and inconsequential. You are a legendary icon. Now get out of here, cuz beyond here lies nothing.”

It’s like that. There is a vague expectation of life on a Sunday evening, something like a half-forgotten kiss that came while raking leaves in the twilight of adolescence. A neighbor girl laid one on and set the woods on fire, and that honey fire smolders to this day. But it’s gone, the trail back to that memory is paved over and rerouted to a cemetery. That’s it! The smokey bear is a gauzy mute harbinger of death. Where will I sleep tonight, Emily Dickinson? In a leafy woods or a graveyard?

“Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality”

Thanks, Em, keep in touch ( you wet blanket, party pesticide ). She is so dead, man.

I need something here, not too terminal but not vague and totally self serving either. Environmentally friendly honesty with psychic traction. I don’t know what that means, but I think I could sell cars with b.s. like it. Wait, wait. That’s my cell.

“Hello. Hi Mick. So you were driving in your car, and a man came on the radio telling you just how white your shirts could be, but he can’t be a man cuz he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as you? Is that correct?”

“Uh huh. No satisfaction. Okay. well I gotta go. Say hi to your mates for me. Sure, next time you’re in town. Bye.”

Whew! I remember when that would have been something to talk about. Now I can’t get off the phone fast enough. Those crazy Rollin Stones. Great name but the Wrinkled Iguanas might be more accurate these days.

I think I need to go to boredom detox then rehab. And then Bored Anonymous as part of my boring aftercare. “Hi, I’m Burrito. I am a boredaholic.”
“Hi, Burrito.” When rock legends and literary icons can’t stir me out of my grayness, what can? Twenty six people in a church basement working the 7th step of the BA program?

Step 7. I must humbly ask my higher power to forgive my shortcomings:
“Lord, forgive me for my boring shortcomings and meanderings. There are typhoon victims floating in the ocean for shark food and here I am cleaning my navel fighting a yawn.”

Something will come to me in the next 50 words because that’s how I am editing this post. I have miles to go before I sleep and promises to keep.

Okay, something should be arriving any minute now. Yo! I got a goal to hit. Hmmm, that one finger nail is getting mighty proud. I should trim him back. Maybe dust the ceiling fan while I’m up. Okay, I give up.